Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Paris Connection Board Game Review

Many thanks to John Bohrer of Winsome Games for this review. He was instrumental in helping me acquire a copy Paris Connection from Queen Games, a reprint of a 2010 Essen Winsome Games release of Paris Connection. Winsome Games games puts out some bitchin fun train games, Baltimore and Ohio is one that comes to mind.

 Last Friday the physiology department hosted the annual holiday party. The burnout of classes made refreshments and the assortment of salty Chinese Food was a nice respite. Even better was the after-party at the local brewery with flowing pints of oatmeal stout. Oatmeal good for breakfast and dinner. Johnny Cash was right, "And the beer I had for breakfast wasn't bad, So I had one more for dessert." Every year at the party I try to bring a light new game to introduce to my non-gamer colleagues. This year I broke out Paris Connection and by the end of a three player game, my friends were shocked about how fun this new game was.

When I ordered the game I told my girlfriend I was expecting a new game to come in the mail and to keep a look out for a box. "What's this one about?" "Paris Connection is a resource management game involving the pimping out of Paris Hookers. You have to keep a strong pimp hand and have the most money at the end of the game."  "Really?" she asked. "Laughingly, Nooooo, it's another train game." "The first choice sounded like more fun."

Paris Connection is a light train game involving a business management/stock trading game mechanism. The wooden trains included in the game serve dual purposes: they represent built track and when in hand they represent shares in each color company. The game plays three to six players.

At startup, trains of each color are placed around the Eiffel Tower and on the valuation track. The rest of the trains are placed in the bag, depending of the number of players, a varying amount of trains are secretly drawn and placed beyond player's shield. This starting hand represents the shares you have an interest in. It has officially been determined that any game with player shields and secret planning instantly rules! The remaining game in the bag are placed in appropriate piles around the board.

The game is simple, but strategic and consists of only two actions:
A. Build Track: Take up five trains of one color and build track
B. Exchange/Purchase Stock: Take one share from beyond your shield and exchange it for up to two shares of another color.

The rules of building track are stream lined. Two trains can occupy the rural hexes (green) and only one train can be placed into a city. Trains are built adjacent to the starting spots surrounding the Eiffel Tower. Building track has two effects on gameplay: its dimishes the stock piles and when a train is built into a city it raises the stock price by a corresponding color amount. Smart placement can quickly raise the price of a stock. The tension begins when prices of stock start increasing when does a player begin to start purchasing shares and dump underperforming companies. Will enough stock still be available to purchase on your turn.

The game ends under two conditions: there is only one color of train in the stock piles (5 of 6 colors have been exhausted) or a player has built a train in Marseille. Of all the cities,  building in Marseille, has the greatest benefit because it is worth the most, four points. At game end, shares are totaled at the current stock valuation multiplier. Dependent on the number of players there is a varying share holding limit. For every share above the limit there is a twenty point penalty. This has not been a factor yet in my game play sessions. I imagine Paris Connection with larger groups, there might be an opportunity to benefit from going over the share limit if the price was right.

The board is sharp looking, but it must be said, the six accompanying little boards to place the trains onto are completely pointless. The intent to the show players available trains that can be used to build or purchase. Why spend time organizing the little trains onto the boards? Making small piles near the board is sufficient and reduces the setup time by a few minutes. Honestly, the six pieces of cardboard could be used as firestarter and not change gameplay. Also, the trains are a bit thin and can be sometimes difficult to pick up. When building track usually players pick up five trains and slide them on the board to the planned hexes they intend to build.

Overall, Paris Connection is a fast light game with some strategy.

Thumbs Up
Quick and Plays up to Six.
Board Looks Great
Great to Introduce to Non-Gamers or Physiologists.

Thumbs Down
Not as satisfying as Chicago Express, 2038 or Baltimore and Ohio, but those Trains Games are a Horse of a Different Color.
Not as fun as Paris Prostitutes.

Paris Connection Rules:

1 comment:

  1. Great review. I like how you posted the rules using Scribd